The Holy Land, by Abraham Ortelius.
Abrahami Patriarchae Peregrinatio, et Vita. - Abraham Ortelius, 1612.
Old, antique map of the Holy Land, by Abraham Ortelius.
Date of the first edition: 1590
Date of this map: 1612.
Copper engraving, printed on paper.
Size (not including margins): 35.5 x 46cm (13.8 x 17.8 inches)
Verso text: Italian
Condition: Original coloured, centrefold reinforced, minor repairs.
Condition Rating: B
From: Theatro del Mondo di Abrahamo Ortelio. Antwerpen, Plantin Press (J.&B. Moretus), 1612. (Van der Krogt 3, 1:652)
Ortelius included this map, illustrating the land of Canaan in the time of the Patriarchs, in the fourth addition to his atlas in 1590. It became part of the expanding supplement of historical maps, entitled Parergon, that Ortelius appended to his atlas of modern maps. Largerly the work of the master himself, the maps in the Parergon, and this one in particular, are the best engravings that reflect the widespread sixteenth-century interest in classical geography.
The delineation follows closely the already familiar map of Tilleman Stella, the first map of the Holy Land to be included in an Ortelius atlas. Territorial divisions, however, are taken of the story of Abraham in Genesis. Ancient tribal names are preserved in the regions of the Philistines, Amalechites, Jebusites, Cenezites, and Gergesites. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah still drive along southern Jordan in the "Valley of the Forest of Salt," which was to become the Dead Sea. An inset shows the stages in the wanderings of Abraham, from Ur of the Chaldees, in the lower Euphrates Valley, to Sechem, Bethel, Damascus, Egypt, and Hebron.
In keeping with the title and biblical theme of the engraving, twenty-two medaillions depicting scenes from the life of Abraham surround the map. The map is framed by an inscription containing the promise to Abraham.
The Wanderings of Abraham is among the most elaborate of Ortelius's compositions. It demonstrates his combined skills as a cartographer and an artist, and his accomplishment as an historian. Ortelius imaginatively enlivened the earliest period of biblical history for the readers of his Parergon.
The medaillions have been engraved after designs drawn by Maarten de Vos